The Morning Fix: Fox-TW Cable make love, not war. CES buzz! Watchdog bites TV Everywhere. Avatar!


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After the coffee. Before fully accepting that it’s 2010 and you’re headed back to work.

Time Warner Cable and News Corp.’s Fox make peace. The first big media showdown of 2010 ended without a shot being fired. Less than one day after their old contract expired, Time Warner Cable and Fox struck a new deal to keep the Fox stations and several cable networks on the cable giant’s systems. Details were scarce, but Company Town heard the deal runs about five years, and the fees for the Fox stations go up annually. We’re hearing Fox probably didn’t get its dollar per subscriber starting in the first year but could end up within spitting distance in a few years. Time Warner, meanwhile, wasn’t able to keep the price in the range of 25 to 30 cents. Details from the Los Angeles Times and a look at what this deal may mean for the business and consumers down the road from Bloomberg.


No Food or Home. While Fox and Time Warner Cable signed a treaty, New York-based cable giant Cablevision dropped Scripps’ Food Network and Home & Garden TV from its systems. Details from the Associated Press.

One size fits all. With the Consumer Electronics Show kicking off later this week (yes, its more than just adult entertainment), Hollywood and tech companies want to figure out how to create content and devices that aren’t company specific. In other words, as the New York Times reports, make that movie you downloaded from Blockbuster play on a Sony TV. Look for lots of big announcements about digital standards and unity among the big media companies. Of course, not everyone is on board. Walt Disney Co. is banking on its own Keychest technology. Meanwhile, mobile TV is getting a little bit of momentum in the U.S. The Wall Street Journal reports on how local broadcasters are hoping it can be a new revenue stream since their old ones are drying up pretty quickly.

It’s ‘Avatar’s’ world. We just live in it. James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ already has passed the billion-dollar mark in worldwide ticket sales, making it one of only five movies to reach that benchmark. Of course, keep in mind the cost of ticket prices these days and the 3-D screenings that cost even more. Nonetheless, the worries that News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox may have had regarding ‘Avatar’ are probably gone. More box-office info from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

TV Everywhere under attack. Free Press, a media watchdog, is going after TV Everywhere, which is the cable-industry initiative aimed at requiring consumers to prove they subscribe to cable TV in order to watch that content online. According to the story in the Washington Post, Free Press thinks TV Everywhere is a plot to make people pay for content online. Actually, it’s a plot to make sure that the people who watch it online are already paying for it via cable TV. We’re not quite sure what’s wrong with content owners who charge consumers to watch their programming on one medium wanting to ensure that only those who have paid for it already can access it online, but anyway.

Predictions and projections. A new year brings new guesses at what will happen. We did ours last week, but here are some more looks at what lies ahead in television from Variety and Broadcasting & Cable and elsewhere in media from the Wrap, Daily Finance and Dow Jones. The good thing about these articles (mine included) is that no one remembers to look back and see how wrong they were at the end of the year.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Sneak peek at the Palm Springs film festival. CBS has just about sold all the ads for next month’s Super Bowl (no that’s not a mistake, the Super Bowl is in February this year), and sales are fairly strong. That said, Pepsi is skipping the game. We look at how strong the game still is and whether it can maintain that strength in the years ahead. Unfortunately, a weak economy means game shows aren’t hurting for contestants. A look inside Tina Brown’s Daily Beast.

-- Joe Flint

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